MX23RW : Tuesday, September 18 21:54:55

Cesare Prandelli proud of Italian trio after Ballon d'Or nomination

Prandelli proud of Italian trio
© PA Photos
Cesare Prandelli has heralded Azzurri trio Mario Balotelli, Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo's nomination for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award as a proud moment for Italian football.

Cesare Prandelli has declared that seeing three of his Italy players nominated for this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or award is a proud moment for the Azzurri.

Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon were among the 23 players to make the shortlist for the annual award to find the world's best player.

Italy enjoyed an impressive run to the finals of Euro 2012 this summer, beating England and Germany before eventually falling to defending champions Spain.

Prandelli believes that the recognition afforded to his star players is a sign that Italian football is improving.

He told reporters: "It is great news for the whole of Italian football. It is recognition that gives us great optimism for the future.

"It is brilliant to have three candidates for the Ballon d'Or."

Balotelli is one of only five of Premier League players to make the shortlist, with Manchester City teammates Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero featuring alongside Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

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